Les Mills BODYATTACK 86 class review

Group fitness loving friends! It’s time to review the latest Les Mills group fitness BODYATTACK release number 86. Every three months, Les Mills — which is the international company that produces more than 11 group fitness programs including BODYATTACK, BODYPUMP and CXWORX to name a few — “releases” new choreography, music and moves for each program around the world in more than 80 countries.

I’ve been teaching Les Mills programs for a long time, and BODYATTACK is my newest. I’ve been certified in BODYATTACK for more than a year. Over that time, BODYATTACK has been changing a bit. It used to be thought of as too hard for the everyday person, due to all the jumps and high-intensity work, and it used to have more of a dancey vibe in the aerobics portions. But the creators of BODYATTACK have made it much more welcoming for all levels, while still offering huge challenges for those who want them and taking away some of the dance.

What is BODYATTACK?

In case you’re not familiar with BODYATTACK, it’s a 55-minute cardio class focused on aerobics, strength and sports movements. For the basics on BODYATTACK, head on over to my post on BODYATTACK tips for first-timers, or check this out straight from the folks at Les Mills:

BODYATTACK is a high-energy fitness class with moves that cater for total beginners to total addicts. We combine athletic movements like running, lunging and jumping with strength exercises such as push-ups and squats. A LES MILLS instructor will pump out energizing tunes and lead you through the workout – challenging your limits in a good way, burning up to 730 calories* and leaving you with a sense of achievement. 

And when you finish a class, you’re red-faced and dead, but feeling on top of the world. Just look at these smiles post-ATTACK a few weeks back in my Saturday morning class …

Les Mills BODYATTACK 86 review via A Lady Goes West

BODYATTACK 86 class review

Overall, my thoughts on BODYATTACK 86:

  • The music is great, there are a lot of popular and catchy songs, which are all perfectly suited to the moves of each track.
  • The workout goes by incredibly quickly and some of the tracks even seem short.
  • The moves aren’t super complicated, so it’s easier for participants to catch on than some of the other releases.
  • Although the two peak tracks are big, they aren’t as big as the last release. It’s not as killer as BODYATTACK 85, which I reviewed here.
  • The strength tracks are not as hard as previous releases and seem a little shorter.
  • The members absolutely love it.
  • I cannot stop smiling in a couple of the tracks because they are so fun. The energy is so good, and one of my favorite tracks ever is in this release.

And now for a track-by-track breakdown. Please note the exact remix of each song wasn’t always available for linking, so some of these are just similar if you care to click through and hear the tune.

  1. Warm-up. “Happy (Nick Skitz & Technoposee Remix)” by B.R.O. This song sets the tone for a welcoming and happy class. The moves are easy, featuring step touches, step curls, jogs, tap repeaters, knee repeaters and even some squats, planks and tricep push-ups. Once again, as with the last release, there is no clapping in the warm-up. There is also no walking forward and back, which has been a warm-up mainstay since I’ve been teaching. This warm-up is organized well and is easy to coach and teach. I like that we introduce one of the strength moves that will be seen again in track five. Strong start.
  2. Mixed Impact. “A Billion Lights” by Outside Edge. This song is super fun. The run to the corner that starts this track begins on the first beat, so you really have to go right into it with no transition at all from the warm-up. I like that there aren’t as many two-step gallops to the side as there have been in past releases, which sometimes seem to go on forever. The three-step agility run is well-suited to the music. What’s different here is that we do squat pulses with our hands on our thighs before going into the step curls, and the arms stay down until the second eight counts of step curls. I like that transition, because it shows members how to stay low in the step curl with a full squat in between. Great song, nothing too complicated, just a strong mixed impact track that really gets the legs working right off the bat.
  3. Aerobics. “Timber (M3L0CR4Z3 Remix)” by Stereo Slam. Super fun. I love this song, and I love the choreography. This is probably the most challenging one for participants to get moves-wise, as there is an arm reach and hold pattern, as well as a pivot turn in the third set. I’ve seen members doing a good job with the arm pattern, but the pivot turn is still getting the better of some. During the single-knee lifts, we let the arms do what they want, which is a nice change from the strict arm-lines of BODYATTACK releases in the past. The combination of six jumping jacks and two supermans is a great way to get into the aerobic zone. Overall, one of my favorite aerobics tracks, but perhaps not the hardest ever.
  4. Plyometrics. “Eat Sleep Rave Repeat (Calvin Harris Remix)” by Fatboy Slim & Riva Starr. Not the best plyometrics track. While I like the fact that all three sets are similar and build upon each other, I don’t love the skater moves forward. In some of the smaller city gyms where I teach, we do not have instructor stages, and it’s a mess during the skaters moving forward. This track has hops, double jumps, side-to-side tucks, skaters and that’s about it. I’m not a fan of releases when a song is repeated across programs, and this song is also used in BODYPUMP, unfortunately. Although I don’t think it’s quite as hard as the plyometrics track in the last release, it surely does the trick. After the third round of double side-to-side tucks, I’m definitely spent, as is the whole class. That move is hard. But this track goes by in a flash, which makes it doable.
  5. Upper-body Conditioning. “Satisfaction (Radio Edit)” by Superclass. This is a remix of a classic song, and I love it, as do the members. The moves are a little different from other upper-body tracks. There is an inchworm walk-out to a plank, as well as a corkscrew plank and plenty of tricep push-ups. Because the corkscrew was demoed in the warm-up, it’s been easier to coach members through this early so they can jump in. This is not the hardest upper-body track ever, but I think it’s the perfect amount of challenge, especially with 16 bottom-half pulse push-ups at the tail end.
  6. Running. “Counting Stars” by Wishing Loud. Easy, light and straightforward running track. What’s different about this one is that we start out running around the room from the very beginning. I like the fact that we do triple pulse squats before the burpees to get members to feel the beat and rhythm before going into the harder move. The new addition here is the side run toward the center of the room and the side run to the outside of the room, which works the inner thighs. I like it.
  7. Agility. “Booyah” by Progression Loud. This song is one of my favorite agility songs yet. There are three strong sets, each including some running, squatting, bouncing, ski jumps, ladder runs and even some skater jumps. It’s basically all you could ask for in an agility track. There have been tracks in the past (for instance BODYATTACK 82) which offered super challenging snowboard tucks, and I like to save that for peak tracks, so I appreciate this more traditional agility track. Booyah is a fun one to scream out loud during the sets. Because everything repeats while building on the last set, it is easy to coach and members seem to like the repetition. 
  8. Intervals. “Show Me Heaven” by The Poetry. Here it is! My favorite song of the release. I’m almost always partial to the interval track. By the time we get here in class people are dying, but you can use the energy of a good song to pull them back in to complete two more cardio tracks. “Show Me Heaven” is such an uplifting tune, and the side-flicks, kicks, runs, and knee-pulls are perfect here. I’ve found that the last set, which features a fairly challenging knee-cross-over combo with eight front kicks takes a little time for members to get, but they’re still smiling even if struggling with the moves.
  9. Power. “Dark House” (Hard Dance Alliance Mix) by Kerrie Scene. Unfortunately, this is the only downfall of the entire BODYATTACK 86 release. I don’t like this song. I don’t like the moves. I just don’t think it’s a strong finisher track. Every single set is different, and I’m not sure why I just don’t like them. There are high-knee runs, drop squats, jumping jacks, plyo lunges, squat jumps, and little knee-lifts, but it’s not cohesive. I’d like to see more high tucks and big jumping jacks in a final track to really finish strong. Not to mention, the high-knee run sprint at the end is just a little too long. To me, the only real push in this is when we do squat jumps with heels to butt in the second set. However, it’s still not an easy track by any means. Just not my favorite.
  10. Lower-body Conditioning. “If I Lose Myself” by OneRepublic. Short and sweet. This track is definitely on the easier side for the legs, as it features lunging and a few squat pulses. I would have liked to have seen harder leg work here, but in the end, it does have its benefits because it introduces some upper-body mobility moves with an arm extension and rotation through the thoracic spine, which is super important for members, especially ones that sit at a desk all day. I like that there are some stretches incorporated in this song as well for the hamstrings between the final squat pulses.
  11. Core Conditioning. “Dibby Dibby Sound (Radio Edit)” by DJ Fresh and Jay Fay. This one is different. It’s a very fun song, and I love the new addition of a lock, roll and hover combination, which provides a challenge for members. However, there isn’t enough time or repetitions to truly set it up how it should be done with the music, so I’ve found members are not truly bracing through the middle to roll and are going more with their momentum. No big deal. I love to end a core track with mountain climbers, and this track offers that.
  12. Cool-down. “Rather Be (All About She Remix)” by Clean Bandit. Amazingly perfect cool-down song and moves. It’s a great song, which lets you celebrate all the work you’ve done. The cool-down moves are pretty standard, and although I would like to have some abductor stretching in there, it’s a good one, and seems to leave the members with a smile.

For instructors:

I found that BODYATTACK 86 took a little while to learn because a few of the tracks have different sets throughout. That means you have to spend a little bit of time setting members up with the move name and compulsory cue during nearly every set, so be prepared with short and sharp cuing. And other than the arm combination in track three, the arm-lines are not emphasized as much throughout, and that seems to make the entire release seem more sporty and less aerobicy. Once again, if you’re offering low options, try to say something other than “low option” each time, perhaps something like “your choice” “a different path” or “pull back with this.” Have fun with this one, and make sure you welcome everyone, set a great tone and go super hard in track four and track nine. 

For members:

Enjoy the ride of this release. It’s not so much about being perfect, as it is about working at your own level and being a part of something big — that’s the vibe of BODYATTACK. Push yourself hard when it’s time to push, but just feel the music and energy during the other tracks and don’t think too much. You’ll work hard, you’ll sweat and you’ll feel the burn, but somehow at the end of the class you’ll feel amazing. Every single time.

There you have it. Les Mills BODYATTACK 86 has been reviewed. I’m going to keep teaching this release a couple more weeks before bringing in some older tracks. This release has not become my new favorite, but I really like it. As the program grows and changes, I can’t wait to see where BODYATTACK goes for release 87.

All things Les Mills

If you enjoyed this review, please check out my previous Les Mills posts:

Check back soon for a review of BODYPUMP 91. But for now, I hope you’re having a great day!

Questions of the day 

Instructors or members, have you tried BODYATTACK 86? What are your thoughts on the release? If you’ve not tried BODYATTACK before, what kind of music do you like to work out to?

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15 Comments

    1. Hi Alexa,
      Les Mills programs are offered at 24 Hour Fitness, Bay Club, Fitness SF, UCSF and YMCA to name a few in the Bay Area. I teach Les Mills BODYATTACK and BODYPUMP at a few 24 Hour Fitness locations in the City. You should come try a class!

    1. Have you ever watched a BODYATTACK release? Any idea what it is like? It’s soooo fun! I hope you get to experience it soon, and keep on asking your GFM.

    1. It’s amazing how you can feel like you’re going to throw up during the hard parts, and smiling from ear-to-ear during others. Enjoy the release!

  1. The instructor at my 24 hr fitness did these most of these tracks the week before launch and I was wondering if it was the new stuff or not because there we a few other instructors taking the class that day. Hmmph!

    I agree that it isn’t the best plyometric track. I don’t like the song, it doesn’t build the energy very well.

    And I think the power track is okay without the high tuck jumps, haha. It’s strong enough without those!! 😉

  2. I’ve come back from a one year break (only because it wasn’t challenging both physically and mentally after doing it for 5-6 years straight) and this release 86 is an uplifting one. Although a long time attack-er, I much prefer the new direction.

    The moves in the newer/recent releases (81 onwards) relates to the sort of training I do outside body attack, which is crossfit style/hiit/functional/rotational movement training (think burpees box / tuck jumps combination and suspension training with plyometrics 😉 ).

    I thought not doing Attack for a year will lose my fitness/co-ordination, however by doing the above mentioned workouts, it’s kept and pushed my fitness to the next level within that year break. Now I view Attack as more of ‘maintaining/testing’ to prove myself that the above has paid off? 🙂

    Thought I’d provide a different insight to what the participants mention here.

    1. Hi Lydia! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your thoughts. I am 100% with you on the fact that you get stronger and fitter OUTSIDE of the group fitness room, even though group fitness is a huge part of my routine, I also like to have some workouts alone in the weightroom. A lot has changed over the past five years in BODYATTACK, and I’m glad you like where it’s going, because I do too. Hope to stay in touch! Happy Attacking:)

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